Giovanni Pico della Mirandola

Tony Benjamin Csoka (
Sat, 3 Jan 1998 17:24:03 -0800 (PST)

Maybe della Mirandola's "Oration on the dignity of Man" should be included
in the reading list. It was written in 1486, and was startlingly extropian
in tone. Needless to say, it got him in a lot of trouble. Here is an
excerpt from God's speech to Adam:

``We have given you, O Adam, no visage proper to yourself, nor endowment
properly your own, in order that whatever place, whatever form,
whatever gifts you may, with premeditation, select, these same you may
have and possess through your own judgement and decision. The nature of
all other creatures is defined and restricted within laws which We have
laid down; you, by contrast, impeded by no such restrictions, may, by your
own free will, to whose custody We have assigned you, trace for yourself
the lineaments of your own nature. I have placed you at the very center of
the world, so that from that vantage point you may with greater ease
glance round about you on all that the world contains. We have made you a
creature neither of heaven nor of earth, neither mortal nor immortal, in
order that you may, as the free and proud shaper of your own being,
fashion yourself in the form you may prefer. It will be in your power to
descend to the lower, brutish forms of life; you will be able, through
your own decision, to rise again to the superior orders whose life is

Tony Benjamin Csoka // Tel: (415) 476 2745 // Fax: (415) 476 9672